Presentation on theme: "Characterization How to get to know characters on the inside from what authors say on the outside."— Presentation transcript:
Characterization How to get to know characters on the inside from what authors say on the outside.
Day 1: Types of characters You can already name the character types: Protagonist & _____________ _____________ & Flat _____________ & _____________ How can we tell which is which when we encounter them in stories?
Characterization An author reveals a character to us line by line, scene by scene. How the author shows us this person or creature or animated thing at the heart of the story is called characterization. Characterization is another set of clues for literary detectives. But first, a little side lesson to give us the right tools for our sleuthing …
infer vs imply When I ask you to look for clues, you’re really trying to infer what the author means. The author can also imply what he or she meant. Try to guess what those words mean Infer Imply
Official version From our friends at Dictionary.com: Imply (verb): To indicate or suggest without being explicitly stated. Infer (verb): To derive by reasoning; to conclude or judge from premises or evidence.
Let’s try that again A writer or speaker implies. He or she might suggest or hint without being obvious. Writing gives information. A reader or listener infers. We pull all the author’s hints or clues or signs together and figure out what the author meant. Readers interpret information. Infer and imply are antonyms.
Right or Wrong? Thumbs up if it’s right. Thumbs down if it’s wrong: I don’t mean to infer that Ariel is a bad student when I say she plagiarizes like crazy. He implied I don’t belong at BASIS because I wear mismatched tube socks. We can infer from the signs that we should walk only one way in BASIS hallways. You should imply from this presentation that we’re going to use this word often. I’d like to imply from your essay that you love English class, but I can’t read your handwriting.
Tomorrow We’ll start to look at how we use our new skills – inferring and implying – to dissect characters we already know. For tonight, copy Infer and Imply and their definitions into the vocabulary part of your binder and memorize them. Yes, they will be on your next quiz.
CHARACTER TRAITS How authors imply and we can infer what we should know about characters
Day 2: Direct & Indirect Authors have two ways to portray characters: Directly and Indirectly. Don’t be fooled into thinking the first one’s easy! They both can be tricky.
Narrator’s remarks In Third Person POV, the author uses the narrator to directly tell us about the character: Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans, with one hand resting carelessly on the black box. The boy was ordinary – the genes of three continents in his features, his clothes cut in the style of all boys … We still need to figure out why the author needed us to know all that.
Speech What they say: Complex words or sentences Simple, one-syllable words or short phrases Slang vs. formal speech Local dialect vs. no accent Tells stories or jokes vs. speaks plainly How they say it: Talkative or quiet? Cursing or polite? Shouting or whispering? (there are many more examples – think of a few!)
Speech You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded – with what caution – with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. “I think we ought to start over,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I told you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that.”
Thoughts & Feelings Thoughts reveal how a character sees the world and what they really believe. We can judge their reactions to violence, danger, romance & many other intense situations by being inside their heads. For example, are they: rational or irrational? confident or insecure? optimistic or pessimistic? thoughtful or emotional?
Thoughts & Feelings He was, as always, the last to leave the Bureau, and as always he felt the pride. There was nothing sweeter than being the last – than lifting off from the empty pad with the rotor blades singing over him and the setting sun below as he made his way in his earned solitude … Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers, of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph.
Homework Pick one of the three short stories we read. Pick a major character. Begin filling out your STEAL worksheet just for Speech and Thoughts/Feelings. Add your notes on the worksheet to the story as annotations.
Day 3: More STEAL What did you put on your worksheet for Speech? What did you put for Thoughts & Feelings? Let’s read some of your selections out loud.
Effects on others Take a close look at how other characters react to the one you’re studying. The ability to make friends or allies is often pivotal to a protagonist’s success. Similarly, if they make an enemy, understanding how they interact can help you figure out the conflict and why it resolves the way it does. Ask: What kind of emotions do others show around this character? Is the character popular or a loner? Does he or she help others or ignore them?
Effects on others Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers, “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!” “Be a good sport, Tessie,” Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, “All of us took the same chance.” “Shut up, Tessie,” Bill Hutchinson said.
Actions You don’t really know what a character is made of until she’s under stress. Whether it’s danger or hardship or romance, the situation will force a character to decide – and then act on that decision. Two main questions to consider: Is the character acting in a way that will help others, or only himself? Are the character’s actions driven by careful planning, instinct or emotion? Another question to consider: did the character’s actions make the situation better or worse? That’s a good clue to how much more growing she needs to do.
Actions When the boy reached the alien, he put out an unsteady hand, touched the Antalou’s shoulder lightly – once, twice – and then, remarkably, drew his hand down the alien’s damaged arm. The alien was astonished. It was an Antalouan gesture, this touch. With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once – once only. In an instant, I dragged him to the floor and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done.
Looks Looks can be deceiving, but what’s on the outside is often a telling clue of what’s happening inside a character too. An author might describe someone’s physical attributes, such as tall, short, tanned, hunchbacked, cross-eyed, pimply, handsome, etc. Is the character in good health? Is he frail or hearty? Does she look feverish or fine?
Looks Take a look at how the character is dressed: designer duds or grubby rags, for example. More importantly, does he fuss over his appearance or does he not care? Is casual dress the sign of a true slob or has she gone to great lengths to make it appear she just threw an outfit together? Body language: does the character hold himself tightly or is he a slouch? Is she out sunbathing lazily or pacing frantically? Does he hobble with a limp or stride with a purpose?
Looks One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture – a pale, blue eye with a film over it. …the boy could see the black synthetic skin the alien wore as protection against alien atmospheres. Under that suit, ropes of muscles and tendons coiled and uncoiled, rippling even when the alien was still.
Homework Finish your STEAL worksheet for your character. Remember to keep adding annotations to your story.
MOTIVE What does the character want – and who or what is in the way?
Day 4: Reinforced STEAL Use your dry-erase boards and write which methods we’re using to infer characterization: Joey shoved his arms through the sleeves of a worn leather jacket, its military insignia half-torn and fading, and shouldered his way out the door with a grunt. The clown made all the little kids cry with his maniacal laugh and evil clown grin. Then he grabbed their candy right out of their hands and ran off, cackling, his oversized shoes thwapping against the pavement.
More examples Dudward the Sparkly Vampire gripped a hank of Smella Swamp’s hair and snarled at her: “I sneak into your room at night, you know, and I watch every move you make while you sleep! I know that makes me kind of a creepy stalker, but it’s all your fault for smelling nice.” “Who’s mama’s sweet widdle pit bull? Who’s mama’s good widdle doggy? Who’s gonna get a widdle tweat from mama? Jump up! Who’s gonna jump! Oh … oh! That’s my finger. Ow! Ow! Down! BAD DOG. AAAAHHHH…”
The Big Questions What does a character want? You should ask this of EVERY character, even minor ones. This simple question should have a simple answer. Determining what a character wants can help you figure out two major things: 1.Who or what is working to stop the character from getting what he wants? 2.What is the character willing to do to get what she wants?
How motive helps 1.Figuring out who or what is working against the protagonist will give you the _______________. 2.Figuring out what the protagonist is willing to do to achieve his or her goal will tell you the ___________ conflict.
Practice On your whiteboards, write what: Kim wants in “Kin” Tessie wants in “The Lottery” The narrator wants in “Tell Tale Heart” Ortega-Mambay wants in “Kin” Mr. Summers wants in “The Lottery” The detectives want in “Tell Tale Heart”
Setting You can do for setting a little of what you do for characters. You can infer how a setting acts on the characters by … ?
Test! You’ll be tested on Thursday, Oct. 4 th The quiz will cover: Infer vs. Imply S.T.E.A.L. Motive